Multiple Sclerosis Dental Implants

Dental implants have become quite popular as the new gold standard for missing teeth restoration treatment. Instead of a dental bridge held in place with the adjoining teeth, or a set of dentures held on the arch with denture adhesive, a dental implant is a small titanium post surgically placed in the jawbone. As it bonds, fuses, and grows into the bone, it begins to function as a natural root would. The implant will deliver natural-like stability, security, biting and chewing pressures as well as temperature change sensations. Jawbone integrity and mass is the primary factor regarding being a candidate, but age and health conditions will contribute as well.

Dental Implant Issues from Aging

The physiological changes associated with growing older affect every aspect of the body. The cardiovascular system does not adapt well with the stresses imposed on it, and the arteries can thicken resulting in an increase in blood pressure.
Skeletal changes can also occur, such as osteoporosis, which is evident by a decrease in bone mass and an increased vulnerability to fractures. This increased fragility and decreased bone density can prevent you from being a candidate for dental implants.
Aging patients can also develop a decreased flow of saliva causing a dry mouth, which negatively impacts dental care in many ways, such as a change in or loss of taste, tooth decay, bad breath, difficulty swallowing, gum disease, yeast infections, and burning sensations in the mouth. Many times, the medications taken to combat the illnesses will have an additional drying effect on the mouth, making things that much worse.

What is Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an incurable disease that affects the brain and the central nervous system. Nearly one million people in the United States are living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). When a person has multiple sclerosis, their immune system attacks the myelin sheath that protects the nerve fibers in the spinal cord, leading to improper communication between the brain and the body and eventually leading to physical disability and permanent damage to the nerves. Multiple sclerosis will gradually lead to partial or full paralysis. Symptoms vary widely from person to person and depend mostly on the amount of nerve damage present and the specific nerves that are affected. Common symptoms most often include the lack of control or coordination of the muscles, the loss of balance or memory, and localized feelings of numbness or weakness. Some people can face significant disability while others may experience long asymptomatic periods. While there is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis, treatments can be helpful to manage MS symptoms and affect the course and severity of the disease.

The Dental Complications with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an overwhelming disorder yielding dental health complications. One complication is the weakening and the eventual loss of muscle control. This medical disorder will make it difficult for the people suffering from MS to perform simple and common dental hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing. Poor dental hygiene will then eventually allow bacteria to attack resulting in infection and disease.

A primary characteristic of multiple sclerosis is inflammation, which is a defense mechanism evoked by the immune system. Gingivitis and periodontitis are inflammatory diseases, and the inflammation from the gum disease can trigger systemic inflammation, prompting MS flare-ups. These flare-ups then continue to release more biochemicals that then lead to increased inflammation in the gum tissue, in a vicious cycle that will slowly deteriorate the body’s immune system and destroy the tissues of the gums. Preventative dental care is crucial for patients with multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis patients find it difficult to stay relaxed at a dental appointment, which leads to extending examinations and dental procedures. A shorter appointment is the challenge, as prolonged exams could cause the patient’s MS symptoms such as stress, fatigue, and muscle spasms to arise. Frequent clinical care is also extremely important for patients with multiple sclerosis. They should plan to see their dentist at a minimum of twice a year, if not more often. When seeing their dentists, there are multiple factors to consider. Patients with multiple sclerosis need to sit at a 45-degree angle, keeping their airways freely open, as many MS patients can develop respiratory problems with their breathing muscles from the disease.

It is also common for patients with multiple sclerosis to have a challenging time pinpointing the specific source of their discomfort or pain, which makes accurate diagnosis challenging. Dentists must be very patient and take great care in using all available resources for an accurate diagnosis before recommending any invasive procedures like root canal therapies or tooth extractions. Patients with multiple sclerosis can also develop a stabbing or searing pain in the face, known as trigeminal neuralgia, or a temporary numbness in the face, teeth, and jaw. Multiple sclerosis can lead to the partial or total paralysis of the face, which substantially complicates many dental procedures.

Dental Implants Helpful for Multiple Sclerosis

For dental patients with multiple sclerosis, dental implants can be considerably helpful, as they stabilize the denture and minimize the chances of slipping or dislodging, and then they will not interfere with the patient’s ability to talk or to swallow. Often, patients with multiple sclerosis can receive dental implants with no complications.
Dentures can be an especially problematic treatment for patients with MS, as dry mouth is a common symptom associated with MS.

Wearing dentures can make talking and eating more difficult, and these issues can be compounded from having a dry mouth. Diminished muscle control also increases the difficulty in maintaining the fit of the denture, especially when symptoms begin to advance. Finally, muscle spasticity can make the daily removal dentures difficult, and even dangerous.
As a beneficial solution to this problem, dental implants can be installed for denture support and stability. By placing just four implants, the denture tray can be secured and stabilized with these implants, dramatically improving the benefit of the dentures.

This still allows for easy removal of the appliance for proper cleaning.
It is quite advantageous to have an in-depth consultation with the providing dentist to determine what is best for the patient with Multiple Sclerosis.

Natural Looking Dental Implant